Month: December 2015


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Explore Aberdeenshire’s inspiring natural landscapes from the epic north east coastline, including the Banffshire coast, to beautiful Royal Deeside and the stunning Cairngorms National Park. The region has ancient castles, idyllic towns and villages and stunning countryside to explore, which is home to a variety of wildlife. Discover clifftops, coves and beaches and explore traditional fishing villages – or unravel a dramatic past through Scotland’s Castle Trail. You’ll find everything frSUNSET_SONG_TWITTER_STARS(1)om rugged ruins to grand fortresses and royal residences. Head into Aberdeen city to find award-winning restaurants, fantastic shopping and a vibrant nightlife. Aberdeen offers a wealth of history and culture including fantastic galleries, museums and historical buildings, as well as a superb beach just a short walk from the city centre. To find out more about Sunset Song and where it was filmed, visit:

Big Lottery Fund

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big lottery fundToday we are opening our new funding offer to applications. We have £250M of life changing Lottery funds to commit in Scotland over the next five years.


We want to ensure that our Lottery funds support people and communities most in need across the country so we have designed our new funding here in Scotland to best achieve that aim. We’ve learned from our previous work and spent time talking to many of you as we’ve developed our new plans – so to everyone who took time to join our conversations, thank-you.


For the first time we are asking communities to tell us how their approach to what they want to do is people-led, strengths-based and/or connected.


We’ll focus our Lottery funds to work with groups that are improving lives, as we know that many people experience challenges at some point in their lives and we want to support activity that helps them overcome these difficulties and become more resilient. And we’ll support community-led activity with funding that aims to work with communities to bring real improvements to the places they live and the wellbeing of those most in need.


Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair explains why we’ve chosen this approach: “We have refreshed and redeveloped our approach and focus so we will work with communities and organisations to support activity which is people-centred, strengths-based and has good local connections. We are sure our new approach will ensure our Lottery funds make a truly life-changing and inspirational difference to people across Scotland.


“In these challenging times we hope this new Lottery money will open the door to support activity which puts people in the lead at the heart of their communities.”


Over the next five years we will make grants of £10,000 to over £1 million – with a streamlined single-stage process for all grants up to £150,000 which should be able to go from application to award in four months. For organisations and groups looking for more than £150,000 we have a more proportionate two stage process which should be able to go from application to award in six months.


For more information on our new plans, eligibility and how to apply please go to our website or you can email

Healthier Scotland Engagement Fund

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healthy scotlandvoluntary action fund



As part of the national conversation about the future of health and care services in Scotland (Creating a Healthier Scotland – What matters to you) VAF is delighted to announce the launch of the Scottish Government’s new Healthier Scotland Engagement Fund.

From August 2015 to Spring 2016 the Scottish Government is holding a national conversation on improving the health of the Scottish population and the future of health and social care services in Scotland.

With £26,000 to give out in grants the Healthier Scotland Engagement Fund is part of this conversation.  It aims to help small voluntary organisations and community groups in Scotland run an event or engagement activity to gather views of people who would not normally participate in a consultation of this nature.

Grants of up to £500 (or exceptionally up to £1,000) are available to support an event or engagement activity with a group of five or more people.

We are particularly keen to fund events or engagement activities that will involve seldom heard or hard to reach groups or communities. Applications that will gather the views of these groups will be considered a priority as will applications from groups with an income under £100,000.

Applications should be received by VAF by 5pm on Friday 11 December 2015. Applicants will hear the outcome of their application by Thursday 7 January 2016. A short report on the event or activity should be returned to Voluntary Action Fund by Thursday 18 February 2016.

Further information, including the guidance and application form, is available on the VAF website at or click on this link:

The Voluntary Action Fund receives funding from the Scottish Government.

Scottish Charity number SC035037. Company Number SC261186.

Community Shares

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community sharesFor major projects it may be worth considering community shares as an option. Last week Applecross Apple Juice Hydro Scheme reached their £750,000 investment to construct a Hydro Scheme, amazing result for a population of 225 people.  Closer to home, Huntly has opened a share issue to construct a windturbine which will fund community projects

Share issues can be used for any projects, not only energy schemes, it is worth having a look if you have a large project –


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At a recent Brave@Heart awards, Stonehaven’s Crew Manager Gavin Strachan received an award form First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for outstanding bravery in exceptional circumstances.

Gavin was part of a crew responding to assist the Scottish Ambulance Service gain entry to a property to reach a casualty. SFRS arrived prior to the ambulance crew, gained access to the property to be confronted by a woman in the late stages of labour.

Gavin and another member (Tim Hull) of the SFRS prepared to deliver the baby and within minutes he successfully delivered the baby. They cleared the airway and the baby started to cry loudly much to the relief of the mother and the SFRS crew.

Other crew members were John Strachan, Alec Gordon, Matthew Crabb and Neil Innes.

Problems in your community? Let us help

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We all want to be able to enjoy our own home, though sometimes it’s not easy. So many things can cause conflict between neighbours – noise, children, pets, parking – that a situation can easily get out of hand. That’s where Aberdeenshire Community Mediation service comes in.

Mediation is a means of resolving conflict where discussion between parties to a dispute is facilitated by a mediator. The aim is to help those involved to move forward and where possible, find an acceptable and workable solution to the dispute.

Aberdeenshire Community Mediation Service is managed by Sacro and funded by Aberdeenshire Council through housing and Community Safety monies. The service has been working with communities since 2004 and has received over 1,200 referrals. The Community Mediation Service is available to all residents of Aberdeenshire, regardless of tenure type, with referrals being received from partner agencies or directly from those involved in a dispute.

Mediation is free, voluntary, confidential and is carried out by trained and impartial mediators. If you feel you could benefit from involvement with the Aberdeenshire Community Mediation Service, or if your group would like a presentation, please contact Irene Reid on 01224 560572.   Sacro, 110 Crown Street, Aberdeen, AB11 6HJ.


Where there is muck there is brass…

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CRNSCommunity Resources Network Scotland (CRNS) is the network for projects that Reuse, Recycle and Repair. There are many local projects which divert waste from the skip and I am sure there is room for many more. Composting, 2nd hand goods, furniture restoration, swap shops……..the list is endless.  If you are interested in developing a project that can reuse, recycle or repair this may be the link for you

What Do You Think?

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Aberdeenshire CouncilAberdeenshire Council is engaging with residents, service users, community groups and staff about its budget for 2016/2017. Public sector funding is reducing across the country, and we need to live within our means. This means we have to consider delivering services differently in a way that will make us more efficient. As a result, some services may reduce, whilst others services may become a higher priority for us.

We need your help with this. Aberdeenshire Council still has a budget of £530m to spend. Your views are very important in helping us to decide what our priorities should be, how willing you are to see service changes which will save money and how best to spend the remaining budget.

This process will help to inform the decisions made by Aberdeenshire councillors in setting a balanced budget which will ensure that the council continues to deliver a range of valued local services to communities, highlight the Administration’s emerging priorities and reduce overall spending for 2016/17 by £18million.

The survey that starts the engagement process can be found at

Community Anchor Organisations

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anchorCommunity Anchor Organisations are community bodies which may act as a focal point for community groups in a localised area. The benefit of having a community anchor in your area is that it may take the lead in large projects or initiate new projects. Often the problem when initiating a new project is the creation of a constituted group and finding office bearers. A small community can only have so many treasurers and secretaries! Once created the ‘community anchor’ can invite local people to come forward with their project ideas without the necessity of them becoming an office bearer. There are many examples of ‘community anchor organisations’ throughout Scotland to inspire you.  


Christmas Hampers from CFINE

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Christmas Hamper Selection 2015

Christmas hampers can be delivered to your place of work on Wednesday 23rd December

Or collected from our warehouse at 4 Poynernook Road, Aberdeen on Wednesday 23rd December – up to 3pm.


Read more for details. Read the rest of this entry »